MONDAY BYTES — September 12, 2016

Last week I got an email from Jeffrey James (arts consultant and friend) who connected me to Abby Burton, daughter of the iconic composer Morton Gould.

This was in response to my post about creative process angst. Abby sent a fantastic letter that her Dad wrote for his induction into the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In the letter, Gould writes “I submit my calling card in the form of an expurgated digest of a diary describing how I compose.”

So, climb inside a composer’s head to get a sense of what his actual process was like.

His one page chronicle outlines days of no ideas, as well as the days he’s somewhat optimistic, or only mildly suicidal, and the mysterious days he’s got some “head sounds” going, or excited to have produced a whopping three notes. Spoiler alert: he does get the commission done and without spontaneous combustion.

It should give us all courage. The letter, as a PDF, is here:


And Abby was kind enough to also send it in typed text to avoid any extra deciphering of her Dad’s handwriting:


FYI: Morton Gould was an American composer, conductor, ASCAP President, and “musical citizen.” His diverse works reflect all aspects and people of this country, written for all musical venues.  A Kennedy Center Honoree, Pulitzer Prize for Music awardee and Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award are just a few of the many awards and recognitions he received.

(Thank you, Jeff and Abby!)

Questions for the week: what’re your creative process habits?

And what has worked for you in dealing with deadlines, pressure, procrastination, time management, and creativity?

What helps you stay on track?

What helps you find your way to the creative flow state?

As always, I love getting your comments and responses! Email me:

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